Marketing & Sales 2015 Summit

The 8th annual marketing and sales summit was well attended at the Sheraton downtown Nashville. The buzz of appreciation was definitely there! We had a great set of speakers and panel discussions, plus a two-track structure breaking out into marketing topics (chaired by Gene Devine from Cavulus) and sales (chaired by Brooke Ivey from the Bloom Insurance Agency). There were so many provocative and stimulating presentations that stood out as memorable, not the least of which were some noted below. I was only able to be in one place at one time, so I intend no slight to those not mentioned.

Not the Same Old Game

It goes without saying that you still have to block and tackle in AEP or else you will be swept away. However, unless you have the ability to play in a disruptive marketplace, you will not thrive. That goes in both directions:  can you be the disruptive player and can you play the disruptive card yourself? That's the message from Kat Gesh-Wilson from BlueShield of North Carolina, Paul Carbone from UPMC Health Plan, Bill Stapleton from Healthplanone. A lot of pressure from compressed CMS payment levels sets up the field for these kinds of strategies and tactics, which were the subject of many discussions, including the general session and panel discussion.

The Hacker Group challenged us to think differently about our marketing frameworks by taking a look outside healthcare and more at themes pursued by major brand names in other industries.  A smart presentation by Kristin Flor and her colleague, Tom Reid, related the seven principles for marketers to our own world: incentive, herding, identity, relativity, authority, liking and scarcity.

Deft Research Engaged and Held a Lunch Audience Captivated

As Gene Divine promised, George Dippel from Deft Research did not disappoint the crowd. The research presented over lunch was powerful and focused, plus well delivered by George, it kept the audience’s attention during a time usually reserved for light chats. Market research into the Medicare consumers and health plan members was well received and earned high praise. Among other unique concepts presented was the notion of the “anxiety cycle” of buyers during the AEP and the way that affected their purchase decisions. This concept included a description of the role of the ANOC itself as a source of anxiety that triggers shopping activity.

First-Hand Experience and Lessons Learned

You would expect it would be improbable to get a room filled with competitive professionals that would also be willing to share their experiences, ideas and recommendations with much candor. But that was not the case. Indeed, both marketing and sales executives presented the good, the bad and the prettier parts of their AEPs, much to the enrichment of everyone. The program was fresh and lively, including the great sales compliance video clips provided by SCAN Health Plan’s David Milligan and Holly Ackman. Sion Hughes presented about the tailored benefit planning process that placed them in a much more competitive posture in the Flint, Michigan, marketplace.

User Group Lunch Table

With an opportunity to meet up face-to-face, several of the two RISE Sales User Groups came together for lunch on the second day of the conference. It generated a series of terrific networking conversations that made the case for creating user groups in the first place. If we have more plans interested in signing up, we can certainly expand the current groups or even create another. 


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